Tag Archives: Corbett

Iowa Live: 62% LOST VOTE SHORT OF 67% BOND PASSAGE LEVEL


Greetings, Gazette Editorial Board and all—

Gazette Reporter Rick Smith got it right.   Cedar Rapids streets have been mismanaged into such “awful” shape voters had no choice but to swallow City Hall corruption and pass an unneeded $180 million sales tax increase–in the  dismal hopes Corbett and his pals would actually fix the streets. 

Gloating Corbett and his pals are reminded they spent nearly $700,000 and won only 1 out of 3—and the 62% vote was far short of 67% needed to pass a bond issue to fix the streets.

Does this mean Corbett and his pals will clean up their acts?  Not likely, is the best answer at this time! 

They and others of their ilk in Marion, must be watched much more closely than in the past!!

 RESOLVING THE INTEGRITY DIVIDE REQUIRES CITY HALL LEADERSHIP LIKE CEDAR RAPIDS HASN’T SEEN!

The Gazette is a ‘business’ on the east side of the river, and is now aware of the problem.   Will it now use the word “integrity”? 

THE DISASTROUS ANNUAL ECONOMIC AND INTEGRITY  LOSSES FROM THE INTEGRITY DIVIDE IN CEDAR RAPIDS ARE AT LEAST $18 MILLION AND 350 INTEGRITY SCORE POINTS, RESPECTIVELY.  Source: Iowalive  11-3-13

DESCRIPTION OF DISASTROUS INTEGRITY DIVIDE IN CEDAR RAPIDS

Avg. Integrity Index Score, on Scale of 0 to 1,000 Tops

Residents on West Side of River

505

Residents on East Side of River

480

West Side Businesses & Nonprofits, Other Than Churches

360

INTEGRITY DIVIDE

East Side of River Businesses

150

Downtown

15

East Side of River Nonprofits, Other Than Churches

10

City Hall

6

Casino

2

Integrity is Adherence to Moral and Ethics Principles.  The Antonym of Integrity is Evil

Integrity Index Score Derivation Methods are Posted on Website: http://www.iowalive.net/integrityderivation.htm   

Evil Scores are at 250 or Below.  Significant Integrity Starts at 300.  Grand Larceny Scores 40

Anyone Claiming to Have Better Numbers is Asked to Provide Them.

Description: http://www.iowalive.net/corruptcity.jpg

http://www.iowalive.net/crdeceptionandabuse.htm

http://www.iowalive.net/bigdonorsdumpcrlost.htm

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=749256965091242&set=a.254741527876124.84482.254283084588635&type=1&theater

http://www.iowalive.net/corbettshellgame.htm

Sincerely,

Iowalive   A Growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa 

 

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Lisa Kuzela files conflict of interest charges against Mayor Ron Corbett


PRESS RELEASE:

lisa1Lisa Kuzela files conflict of interest charges against Mayor Ron Corbett

On Monday, February 25, 2013, Lisa Kuzela submitted to the Iowa State Ethics Board claims of conflicts of interest that Mayor Ron Corbett has violated Iowa Code 68B.2A which prohibits outside employment and activities. Those charges have been forwarded to the Linn County Attorney’s office.

The pertinent subsections to the code are as follows:

According to:
Iowa Code 68B.2A – “Prohibited Outside Employment and Activities-Conflicts of interest:”
“Any person who serves or is employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not engage in any of the following conduct:”
“Outside employment or an activity that involves the use of the state’s or the political subdivision’s time, time, facilities, equipment, and supplies …”

In addition, specifically regarding employment conflict…
“Outside employment or an activity that is subject to the official control, inspection, review, audit, or enforcement authority of the person, during the performance of the person’s duties of office or employment.”

Corbett was the Vice President of Human Resources at CRST. John Smith was President and CEO of CRST International, Inc. and is currently Chair. David Rusch is the current President and CEO of CRST. Corbett supposedly remains employed by CRST, although questions remain as to if he actually works there or simply receives a salary under a fictitious position.

Corbett has a personal interest through his official capacity of mayor which has benefitted John Smith and David Rusch at CRST which violates State Law.

The most recent actions he has taken in regards to the casino have prompted me to finally file an official complaint and request for an investigation.

My suspicion rose first when I learned who the investors were. They included John Smith and David Rusch of CRST.

Two weeks ago I learned about the Agreement between the Cedar Rapids Development Group (“investor” group) and the Linn County Gaming Association (nonprofit group) which states that if there is any debt incurred on the land or operations, then a “third party” will cover that debt. I knew what that meant. Again, the city taxpayers will be subsidizing another facility. But this time, it will be for Corbett’s employers.

Last week, I learned of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (see attached) that Corbett approved at the October 9, 2012 City Council meeting.

This Memorandum is basically a no-competition declaration stating that the City will exclusively support the Cedar Rapids Development Group, LLC and the Linn County Gaming Association, Inc. They will not consider anyone else who wants to bid for the gaming license.

This created an environment in which there can’t be competition. A bid process would have been in the form of bidding a higher percentage of funds to go to the nonprofit who then allocates it to the community.

By doing so, Corbett not only dishonored the residents, costing them tens of millions, but he secured that those proceeds will stay in the hands of the investor group, of which Smith and Rusch are investors.

The MOU that Corbett supported therefore:
1) secured that this investor group, of which Smith and Rusch are members, Cedar Rapids Development Group, LLC, and no one else, would be sole ownership of the casino, entertainment, gift shops, etc. proceeds – as stated in the Agreement;
2) secured that a lower percentage of proceeds be distributed into the community;
3) secured that this investor group will make millions more (that otherwise would’ve gone into the community).

Note that I don’t think that a bid process is required under law or regulations in this situation, however, through Corbett’s official actions, he has granted favor to Smith and Rusch of who Corbett is employed.

This MOU agenda issue was a critical one for Cedar Rapids, yet was not only not discussed at the council meeting; it was noticeably inconspicuously placed on the consent agenda. No council member pulled it off to discuss, and it was passed by the simple vote of passing the consent agenda.

The Resolution was signed by Mayor Corbett October 9, 2012. (See attached)

Earnestly submitted by
Lisa Kuzela

Extended information: The casino conflict of interest has many tentacles …

In April 2012, I, along with others, attended and spoke at a House Ways and Means Subcommittee regarding Senate File 2217 – a $600 million bill for “flood protection” in which Mayor Corbett strongly lobbied for. At that meeting, there were two lobbyists from CRST. At the time none of us could understand why they were there.

This bill, signed into law April 19, 2012, was so broadly worded that it allows any project to be funded under this bill, as long as part of the major project qualifies as “flood protection.” This includes a casino.

Senate File 2217, Section 4 – New Section 418.1 Definition #5 “Project”
“A project may consist of one or more phases of construction or reconstruction that are contracted for separately if the larger project, of which the project is a part, otherwise meets the requirements of this subsection.”

Although the bill states the funds would be granted to the “governmental entity,” this city knows how to get around that. Three LLCs (Courthouse II LLC, Courthouse II Tenant LLC, and Courthouse II Manager LLC) were created for the former Federal Courthouse / new City Hall, in which they used all public funds to rehabilitate. By doing this, not only did the taxpayers end up paying more, but it bypassed any bidding process that was required by law with these funds and prevented transparency.

There’s already an LLC formed for the casino – Cedar Rapids Development Group, LLC. I predict they will do the same with the casino – providing even more funding to the “investor” group – all with our tax money!

Now that the casino project is being pushed and John Smith and David Rusch have been named as investors, I think I understand now why a trucking company located miles from the river was lobbying for a “flood protection” bill.

Currently, as I predicted, Corbett and Senator Rob Hogg are lobbying the Board (established under this bill) to have part of the casino project count as flood protection.

However, if this is granted by the Board then, according to the bill, the taxpayers, rather than the investors, can be paying for the construction of the casino project with the appearance that the investor group (LLC) is paying for it.

Sidebar: Each phase or subproject is capped at receiving $15 million through this law. In addition it requires a “local match.” However, the State received a waiver from HUD allowing the CDBG Disaster Assistance to count as a local match. Therefore, with this match, it allows Corbett to help fund up to $30 million per phase / subproject of the major casino project. Thereby, leaving the investor group, of which John Smith and David Rusch of CRST are investors, to invest very little, if any, toward the casino, obligating Local, State and Federal taxpayers to fund the construction of the casino.

Recently, it’s been published that Ron Corbett has historically opposed a local casino. I even heard him say so at a dinner during his campaign at the Islamic Center in Cedar Rapids. He said that the market is saturated and it doesn’t make sense to have another one here.

Now he suddenly supports a casino.

Of course this sudden change of attitude about such a major issue is usually explained away politically, but when all these facts are pieced together, questions can’t help but be raised as to why he is now using his elected position as mayor to push through the casino upon which Smith and Rusch are an investors.

Earnestly submitted by Lisa Kuzela, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Cedar Rapids Headlines 12/23/12


Christmas Dinner Serves Hundreds Annually at Metro High School

By Christy Aumer, Reporter   CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Several hundred people attended the annual free Christmas Dinner at Metro High School on Saturday.
For three hours today, volunteers served up a free meal while attendees had their choice to take home clothing, non-perishable food items and toys – all free of charge. Santa was also there to spread a little Christmas cheer and bring smiles to the faces of the little ones there.This annual event has helped hundreds of people since 1997 when Henry Davison began events like these.
“People need it,” Davison said. “They get to come in, eat, enjoy themselves and leave.”
Families that attended were able to give each child at least one book, one stuffed animal and another gift of their choice. Last year, the program served around 500 people.
“How many people do you see sleep under the bridge every day?” Davison said. “I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for them.”
86-year-old Davison started the HD Youth Center in the late 1990s to help members of the community. The center puts on several events during the year, including an Easter Egg Hunt, a Back to School program, a Thanksgiving dinner and an Adventureland trip that Michael Lewis said gives kids the opportunity to get out of the city and have fun.Lewis has been with Davison since he started the program and attended many speeches Davision gave around town in the 1990s in an effort to spread the word about the need for the neighborhood center.
“This really brings the community together,” Lewis said. “It’s a reminder that someone out there cares about you, even if just for a minute.”
HD Youth Center Christmas Coordinator Eric Hansen said the program has seen rough days, especially since the Flood of 2008 which involved a relocation of the center, and events., but Hansen said they’re hoping to open a new location on Mount Vernon Road in the next three months.
“Hoping,” Hansen reiterated. The program is seeking more volunteers to aid in projects and events like these to keep it moving forward.
26-year-old Brittany Hermon said this was one of the biggest events of the year for her and her four kids. Being her second time attending the Christmas dinner, she enjoys seeing familiar faces and plans on coming back again. The toys she selected will be the Christmas gifts for her children, besides two other toys she previously purchased.
“God got me through another Christmas once again,” Hermon said with a smile.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Henry Davison at (319) 329-8841.

Flood protection in Cedar Rapids remains top priority

Work goes on to bring it to reality

CEDAR RAPIDS — The flood gauge just upstream from the Eighth Avenue bridge here has the depth of the Cedar River these days at less than three feet.The river’s low flow and a distance of four and a half years from the city’s historic 2008 flood — when the river climbed to 31.12 feet — conspire to blur the need to build the city’s proposed $375 million flood protection system, acknowledges Mayor Ron Corbett.  I’s only natural, said the mayor. Finding public dollars to help in the aftermath of a flood or other natural disaster, he said, is always easier than finding those dollars to protect against what the future might hold.“Once the disaster is cleaned up, then you’re looking for long-term construction dollars, and you’re fighting with all the other aspects of government spending,” Corbett said. “The emotional piece has been lost.” Amphitheater progress
The most visible sign that the work of flood protection is inching ahead is the city’s towering outdoor riverfront amphitheater, now under construction on the west bank of the river across from downtown. This $8 million entertainment venue, which doubles as a flood levee, is a reminder of just how high floodwaters climbed in 2008. In recent weeks, as part of the amphitheater project, a set of concrete pillars have gone up, providing a first look at what a flood wall could look like elsewhere in the city’s flood-protection system.
For his part, Corbett said he is reserving judgment about the aesthetics of the wall until the work is complete, though Dave Elgin, the city’s public works director and city engineer, says the pillars will come with landscaping and other enhancements to make them look more appealing than they might look now.
The section of wall, Elgin adds, is one of many examples of a removable flood wall, which are designed so removable panels can be inserted between the pillars during the approach of a flood. Removable walls are in the city plan for much of downtown.
At first glance, 2012 would seem to have been a bad year for the city’s flood protection plans. After all, local voters in March — for a second time — defeated a measure that would have extended the city’s existing 1 percent, local-option sales tax to provide local dollars to help pay for flood protection.
Corbett, though, says the tax defeat didn’t change what he says is the widely held view in Cedar Rapids that flooding will recur and flood protection will be built.
Flood fund
The tax defeat aside, 2012 brought what Corbett calls a “significant” victory for Cedar Rapids flood protection when the Iowa Legislature created a new state flood protection fund based on an idea that Corbett and the city of Cedar Rapids came up with and spent two years pushing. The new law will direct a portion of the incremental increase in the state sales tax into a fund, which cities can make application to if they have local matching funds.
‘Preferred’ plan’
The city’s Elgin calls the city’s preferred plan a Chevy and not a Cadillac, a plan that provides protection but not extravagances.
With four years now passed since the City Council adopted the preferred plan, Elgin reports that the city now has asked one of the plan’s consultants, Stanley Consultants of Muscatine, to calculate the costs of a less-ambitious flood protection system for the west side of the city.
In the preferred plan, which protects to the elevation of the 2012 flood, the cost of west-side protection now is thought to be between $150 million and $155 million because about $30 million already has been spent to buy out and demolish flood-damaged properties in the way of a flood-protection system.
Stanley Consultants has put the price tag at about $125 million to protect the west side to the 100-year flood level and $140 million to build a foundation sturdy enough to provide 100-year flood protection and to allow the protection to be enhanced to the 2008 flood level in the future. In the end, Stanley has advised that it doesn’t cost that much more to go from 100-year protection to the preferred plan’s 2008 level of protection once the foundation for the latter is in place, Elgin says.

I have to wonder why the city continues to go on and on about “flood protection” when we all know that the reason we flooded as badly as we did was because we had trains sitting on bridges acting as dams! People I talk to in the community want the river dredged.

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